Sponsored Parachute Jump, July 2001

The following text is the experience of some brave volunteers who risked life and limb in the quest to raise money for our charity. These individuals are not members of our charity, but saw a cause in which they believed in, and felt that they could help. Their actions are typical of many of our sponsors, of whom we are so proud to be associated.

When Peter Tolson told me about the problems caused by the foot and mouth outbreak for fundraising for the North Nibley Romania Team, I suggested that perhaps a charity parachute jump might help.
He must have misheard me as he immediately thanked me for volunteering. After making some enquiries to various parachute schools, I contacted three friends and asked them how they would feel about joining me. All were enthusiastic at the idea of doing a parachute jump, although they were slightly less so when I explained that they would each have to pay a 180 course fee.
There seems to be a myth circulating about a parachute school which offers a free course to anybody who raises a certain amount of money through sponsorship to a charity. If anybody knows where this parachute school is, I would be grateful if they would pass the information on to me.
Some of the parachuting organisations advocate using a proportion of the sponsorship money raised to fund the parachute course, however, we agreed that we would all prefer to tell our sponsors that the whole of their donation would go to The North Nibley Romania Appeal.
The parachuting course which was run by The London Parachuting School, started early on Saturday morning. We were introduced to our instructor (Barry Buck) who then set about teaching us all of the necessary skills to make a safe parachute jump, such as how to exit the aircraft, controlling our direction in the air and how to land.
The Team.

Left to right: Julian Brooker, Ben Jolly, Kenny Hatch (inset), Mic O'Connell

By the end of a long and intensive day of learning and practice, we all felt confident about making the jump the following day.
On the Sunday, we were lucky to have extremely fine weather. Although we were all quite nervous whilst our aircraft was climbing to the jumping altitude of 3,500 feet, once we had jumped, we found the experience of floating back to earth very enjoyable. Modern 'square canopy' parachutes allow for a very soft landing.
In total we raised over 500 for The North Nibley Romania Appeal. A large portion of this sponsorship was raised by Paula Spong of Little Acorns Montessori School in Stoke Poges.
A parachute jump is an unforgettable experience for the jumper and is also entertaining for spectators, making it a good choice as a means of charity fund raising.
The Jumpers were:
Julian Brooker - Research Fellow
Mic O'Connell - HGV Driver
Kenny Hatch - Education Advisor
Ben Jolly - Corporate Sales Representative